Crowd Sourcing! Get Customers to Run Your Biz

Written by on December 10th, 2010

Starbucks is doing it, Dell is doing it, Cisco is doing it and now you can do it too!

I normally don’t review products and services but ran across IdeaScale today and had to share it with you.  IdeaScale provides any business, organization the ability to use crowd sourcing to collect the ideas thoughts and suggestions of others to improve your products, events, services and more.

Starbucks was in my opinion late to crowd sourcing game, but did a great job at implementing it and using customer feedback to increase buzz, brand exposure and customer loyalty.  Their collects the suggestions and thoughts of their customers in three areas; 1) Product Ideas, 2) Experience Ideas, 3) Involvement Ideas.   Within each category there are sub categories.  For example Involvement includes, Building Community, Social Responsibility, Other Involvement Ideas and Outside USA.

Collectively there are nearly 100,000 ideas that have been submitted and voted on.  An idea that gets the most votes, rises to the top and becomes an idea that Starbucks staff begins to explore.   I participated when I could no longer get “Maple Nut Oat Scones” from Starbucks anywhere in Ohio.  These scones had an incredible thick layer of icing on them and were perfect with coffee. (Even though my kids thought they tasted like dog biscuits!)

So, let’s get back to the point.  IdeaScale will enable any company or organization to create a similar environment for FREE.  That’s right free.  I can guarantee you Starbucks is paying tens of thousands of dollars a year for their software platform and IdeaScale will do the same thing for your organization.

Not sure what to do?  Consider this:

  • Hospitals could use IdeaScale to build communities of learning around diseases and health issues
  • Associations could use it learn what issues members are facing and then reassign resources to helping them
  • B to C companies could use the Starbucks model and use it to improve customer service, get customers involved in product development
  • B to B companies could use a password protected version to use as a company suggestion box
  • Religious organization could use it to increase discussion around the previous weeks sermon and challenge members to live the message in their daily lives

We created a version of this for our company in 1995 to increase the sharing of ideas within a tech company I founded.  I firmly believe the successful leaders and companies of the future will be using crowd sourcing tools like this to run their companies.

In a recent IBM study, Capitalizing on Complexity:

  • 8 out of 10 CEO’s expect their environment to get more complex
  • 49% believe their organizations are not ready to deal with this new complex world
  • 95% of top performing companies identified that getting closer to customers was their most important strategy
  • This group of CEO’s expect 20% of revenue in the next 5 years to come from new product/service lines

The same IBM study found that majority of CEOs did not believe their staff had the answers to the enormous challenges their companies face.  Crowd sourcing could provide that solution.  In my opinion, crowd sourcing will help organizations handle the enormous challenges businesses face.  So check it   Interested in learning more about Crowd Sourcing join our complimentary Webinar.  Click here for the quick GotoMeeting registration!

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